We should all be concerned with the welfare, fate of unborn child

26Mar 2022
The Guardian
We should all be concerned with the welfare, fate of unborn child

​​​​​​​ONE of the lesser known world days is the International Day of the Unborn Child, an annual commemoration pioneered by the Catholic Church and slated for March 25 each year. Chroniclers say it was established by Pope John Paul II in the early 1990s and many countries gradually took to marking-

-the day. It was designed to coincide with the Feast of Annunciation, the day when Holy Mary was given the information of the child she would carry, an event of enormous historical importance for all of humanity. 

What is central to the International Day of the Unborn Child is opposition to abortion, where according to the chronicle, John Paul II viewed the day as "a positive option in favour of life and the spread of a culture for life to guarantee respect for human dignity in every situation." That is where problems start, the situation in which an unborn child is inserted, who cares for the welfare of the fetus, or later the child. Abortion often begins from neglect and contempt of pregnancy, where a woman feels it as an indignity.

The United States of America is perhaps the country where the difference between support and opposition for abortion divides the country in unequal halves, with the matter fervently battled in each election across each state and for each seat being contested for. Yet there are those in far off countries looking at the ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ divide  as a moral debate in an affluent environment. For many young women who risk their lives conducting often unsafe abortions, the reason is neglect of fetus, contempt for pregnancy shown by the man responsible, with no replacement for such person, as a comforter of sorts.

Despite an avalanche of sermons on kindness and caring for the weak, only systematic programming of caring for pregnant women and ensuring the welfare of the unborn as well as infants, by their inclusion in a programme like the Tanzania Social Action Fund (instead of handing money to aging drunkards at times). Activists have never really shown an inclination to go in that direction, as there is often an excess concern or make believe about women as a whole, where the more affluent or those in an assured family environment are mixed up with those who suffer on their own with pregnancy, infants or toddlers. The gap has to be filled so that young women don’t risk their lives in abortions; they don’t hate their fetuses.

In criminalizing abortion, we ought to go a stage higher and stop the idea that it is young women who ought to value life, as the more responsible position is that if no partner is ready to acknowledge the unborn child, a reliable social fallback facility ought to be there. While we don’t have a welfare state with guaranteed minimum wage, we can start with those who are pregnant, lactating or caring for toddlers on their own. Many will snort but it is the humane alternative to abortion.